Looks are Important

So, uh… I’m trying out this dating service, eHarmony.  And, I like it’s process.  But, like all things in life, we don’t always receive what we expect.

She didn’t allow her photos to be viewable until Open Communication.  We finally got to that stage, (which was quick and very exciting!), and I was really hesitant to look at her pictures.  I mean, what if she’s not attractive to me?  My photos were available from the get-go.  So, she may have developed an attraction, but I only had her written words to go on.

Well, her written words were good.  Her responses, her outlook on life… we seemed to be compatible in those respects.  And, I didn’t want her to be physically unattractive.

So, I decided to re-read her introductory profile, you know?  To focus on her “inner qualities.”  Lo’ and behold, her photos were unrestricted and there she was!

And, I was not impressed.

Year 2004 In Review (Finally)

I am taking forever to reflect on this past year and the new semester is about to begin.  Damn… where to begin?

Career
I quit my job as a loan officer in 2004.  The money was less than what I expected and I learned what I needed to learn to continue on my own.  More importantly, I was inspired to go back to my original plan to be in international business.  I want to keep my license.  And, I still need to come up with a business plan to launch retail mortgage as a side business.

Academics
So, I applied to b-school.  And, I got into my school of choice (although, admittedly, my school of choice wasn’t very selective).  Now, here I am, at Monterey.

My degree will involve three semesters.  I just finished my first and most difficult one.  It was difficult because I had to do the International Business Plan (IBP) right from the get-go.  A typical MBA student is supposed to take the IBP only in his last semester.  And since I’m an Advanced Master’s International candidate, the school’s curriculum deemed I was ready for the capstone course in my first semester.  Although I was a bit nervous at first, I soon realized that I was more than capable for the task.  Although stressful, I had a very successful semester.  I impressed a lot of new people, learned new skills, and managed to keep good grades.

I still need to write an entry about the IBP itself.  But, I’ll save that for later.  I think I’ll just keep this entry a topical summary.

Social
I met relatively few people compared to my days at Humboldt.  During the first couple of months when I started my undergrad, I met over 50 people.  By the end of the first year, I could not walk across campus without saying “Hi” to twenty.  After my first semester here, I’m lucky if I can remember ten of my classmates’ names.  The IBP really consumed me.  My social life was completely forsaken.

However, there are a few notables.  During the summer program, I found a new good female friend, R… I chuckle at the thought of this friend:  R-nita Scandalita.  She’s not as wild as the “aura” around her seems to convey.  I wouldn’t typically gravitate towards someone like R. since I’m such a boring guy.  But, we were able to talk openly and we developed a strong friendship that continues even though she’s back in Virginia.

S. I met through R.  And, while R. went back to the East Coast, S. stayed here at MIIS to study Translation & Interpretation.  S., although from Beijing and this being the first ever in the United States, speaks English better than most Americans I know.  Even more impressive, when she’s doing her interpretive work, she has a British accent.  How cool is that?  In a way, S. replaced R.  But, to my slight disappointment, S. does not appreciate the degree of disclosure that I am used to with R.  All in all, she is a great friend.  A great person to spend time with.

I made some guy friends, too!  F., I met through an MBA classmate.  He came to MIIS from Taiwan to improve his English and study for his GREs.  I helped him a bit as a language partner.  And, he helped me a bit during my Mandarin summer program.  When the partner bit was over, it translated into a good friendship.  F., sadly, moved further north to pursue his graduate degree in aerospace.  But, I hope to continue my friendship with F.  He is very mature and has a very good heart.

B. I met from odd circumstances.  He asked me out on a date.  As soon as I cleared the air about my sexuality, we were able to hang out.  He is also very mature and somewhat of a film buff.  So, I hope he doesn’t mind having another straight friend.  I’ve lost contact with him over the Winter Break.  So, I hope to rejuvenate the budding friendship we had before the final hours of IBP threw us to the winds.

Love
I broke up with L.  Quite a tragedy considering how much I love(d?) her.  I guess it’s a bit ironic, too.  Besides taking me for granted, lacking in affection, being a bit naive about men-women relationships, giving off a cold, stand-offish personality, and missing critical conflict-resolution skills… L. is a great woman.  She’s smart, determined, assertive, and holds strong family values (not in the Republican-sense… hmm, on second thought, she is pro-life and a closet anti-gay, holds a strong self-responsibility stance towards marginalized people — perhaps she’s a Republican afterall?  Haha!)  But her nose has been in her textbooks for too long and she is not as well-rounded as I imagined her to be.  Yes… I know.  Since when is anybody who we imagined them to be?  True.  However, for me to have loved her so strongly only to be taken for granted even before we’re even married, I came to realize that she could not make me happy.

Anyway, a huge entry can be made about this event in my life.  I’ll save that for some other time.

In other Love news… I have been on the dating scene for a bit.  Can’t really call it much, but there were some prospects.  Now, sad to say, there are none.  No one interesting.  I’ve met many women whom I can have a good time with.  However, I haven’t met a woman who can inspire me to write in verse like L. managed to do at one point.  I don’t think I will for some time.  Shucks… such a tragedy.  I loved writing poetry.  I loved thinking about what to do next to sweep her off her feet.  Damn… I loved being able to say “I love you” all the time.  Eh.  The yearning will pass.  I will love again.

Family
My parents are doing well.  They don’t seem to be arguing as much.  My dad finished remodeling the master bedroom after a decade being a “work-in-progress.”  His next 10-year project?  The roof.  Hah!  Oh, which reminds me: I worked with my dad to redo the roof.  It’s only partially done, but what a great feeling to work side-by-side with my dad.  As a teenager, I hated working with my dad because it was such hard labor.  And I’m such a pussy when it comes to getting my hands dirty.  But, having grown some balls over the last eight or ten years, and minus the raging horomones that augment any emotion, I really enjoyed being in the hot sun, ripping off the shingles of our roof.  It had a strong feeling of accomplishment.

My mom is still dealing with her diabetes.  It is more or less under control, but I worry about her sometimes.

My little cousins are all growing up.  I can still terrorize Feigao with impunity.  And, I can still pick up Tracy in my arms.  I doubt I’ll be able to do that when I come back from the Peace Corps.  I better enjoy each moment while I can.

Personal Accomplishments
I think I lost my fluency with Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata.”  I haven’t practiced that piece in quite a long time.  I also haven’t picked up my guitar either.  So, musically, I’ve degenerated.

My Mandarin, having not practiced regularly and deliberately, also have decayed.

My fat, however, gratefully fell off.  I went from a 180 going on 185 to a 160 going on 155.  Although I may be slimmer, I have maintained much of my lean muscle.  So, I no longer have a spare tire.  I can see more definition in my arms, my chest and my abs.  In the physical sense, I’ve done well.

I would still like to learn Beethoven’s “Appassionata.”  I want to sing some Jackie Cheung songs in Mandarin.  I want to learn more about wine tasting.  And I want to learn how to use Flash to develop my own webpage.

I also want to develop my own investment system.  After taking that Financial Statement Analysis class this Winter, I have taken a new interest in an hobby of mine.  So, I guess I should add that to the list.

Conclusion
The year 2004 was a year of new beginnings and abrupt endings.  The outlook is bright.  I’m alive and healthy, and I still got a lot of uppity goodness in me.  So, here’s to 2005!

“Meet the Fockers”

It’s almost that time of year, again: The Year in Review!  And, boy, is there a lot to talk about.

How about I just start with today?  Today was rainy.  Very rainy.  The skies poured and the wind blew and people got all wet despite the umbrellas and raincoats.

The rain made my textbook adventure a lot more interesting.  So, I’m taking this class come Monday and the professor didn’t post the syllabus until recently… while everyone is still on vacation.  Luckily, I came back to Monterey early and was able to find out that we need to have the first three chapters read by the beginning of class.  Well.

I thought it was awfully nice of the professsor to have the textbook on reserve in the Library.  Unfortunately, the Library is closed until this Monday, 9am.  Class starts this Monday at 9am.  My order of the textbook won’t come until the middle of next week.  Boo-hoo, the course is only a week long.

So.

I decided to call the local junior-college bookstore to see if they had one on hand.  Lucky for me, they did.  Unlucky for me, they were going to close in 5 minutes.

Traffic.  Rain.  By the time I got to the campus, it was already 3:15 and the store was supposed to close at three.  Hunting for the bookstore on a huge campus in the rain wasn’t the funny part.  The funny part was me running in my sandals with my huge golf umbrella, trying to hold up my jeans because, lacking a belt, they were slipping down.  “Why did I even bother with the umbrella?”  I thought to myself.

So, I bought the textbook.  And, I was very grateful for the store manager for still being there.  Why wouldn’t he be?  I paid $153 for a book that I bought online for just $55.  Hopefully, I can sell the book to one of my classmates.  I’m sure there’ll be a few who will need the book come Monday.

The rain also caused a blackout in our area.  Blackouts are common, apparently.  There I was, doing my business on the shitter, and poof!  The lights were out.  This was a fear of mine, being in that bathroom in the dark.  Ever since I saw “The Grudge” and that freaky blue kid with the bloated face meowed at Sarah Michelle Gellar, I was spooked about the closet door in the bathroom.  For weeks, I was afraid of opening that door, lest that meowing kid be standing there.  Shit… I’m goosepimply just thinking about it.  So, there I was, sitting on the porcelain bus with my worst fears coming true.

I survived.

I finally got a hold of Frank by eight o’clock in the evening.  I’ve been trying to get a hold of him all day.  We were supposed to go to lunch.  But, I found out that he had his TOEFL exam today and he barely got back at five.  I asked him to go eat out with me.  And, of course, being me, I took us to Pho King.  Nothing like a big hot bowl of pho on a rainy day.  I think a large pho dac biet and a glass of Thai iced tea got to be my favorite meal.  I just can’t get enough of it.  I can get tired of dim sum, but I don’t ever seem to get tired of pho.

We decided to catch a late-night movie.  Turns out that there’s this new theatre at the Del Monte Center.  Huge.  New seats and stuff.  We went to see “Meet the Fockers.”  Fuckin’ hilarious.  I haven’t laughed so hard since “Finding Nemo.”  Just plain ol’ knee-slapping funny laughs.  De Niro and Hoffman can play some funny roles.  Frank commented on how he never thought Hoffman could do a role like that.  I don’t see much of Hoffman these days on the Silver Screen, but I certainly liked his role in this one.

Well, well… today was a full one.  Something has to be said about waking up early.  Start your day early, and you can get a lot of adventures in.

“55 Year-Old Has Triplets for Her Daughter”

55-Year-Old Has Triplets for Her Daughter

Tue Dec 28, 8:35 PM ET

By KRISTEN GELINEAU, Associated Press Writer

RICHMOND, Va. – A 55-year-old woman acting as a surrogate for her daughter gave birth to triplets Tuesday.

The two boys and one girl were delivered a month and a half prematurely by Caesarean section at Bon Secours St. Mary’s Hospital. Surrogate mother Tina Cade experienced “mild complications,” which the hospital said is not uncommon for such surgery.

Cade carried her own grandchildren for her oldest daughter, Camille Hammond, who suffers from endometriosis, a condition that affects the lining of the uterus and makes it difficult to become pregnant.

Hammond and her husband, Jason, both doctors at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, had tried for four years to become pregnant. Cade approached the couple with the idea of carrying their child and began hormone treatment last winter to turn back her biological clock — she had already entered menopause — and prepare her for pregnancy.

Months later, she was implanted with three test-tube embryos.

The babies were not due until mid-February, but doctors decided to perform a C-section because Cade was having excessive swelling and because of concerns about her heart.

The infants were in intensive care. The boys weighed 4 pounds, 9 ounces, and 3 pounds, 12 ounces; the girl weighed 4 pounds, 10 ounces. Their names were not released.

Camille Hammond said she was “overwhelmed” when she saw them. “The three words I have to summarize my experience … is `God is good,'” she said.

Jason Hammond said his mother-in-law was resting and “doing fantastic.” He added, “We are so excited. We are really blessed.”

The National Center for Health Statistics said 12 children were born in 2002 to women ages 50 to 54 who carried triplets. The center does not maintain statistics for women 55 and over.

Cade is director of multicultural affairs at the University of Richmond.

Executive Summary

I was responsible for writing and submitting the Executive Summary today.  When it was complete, I was incredibly proud.  It was coherent and presentable.  Unfortunately, it was missing the Decision Matrices.  This critical component was unknown to me.  My team members were also not aware because they also didn’t read the instructions.

I feel so deflated.  All that pride in my work extinguished in an instant.

Putting aside my emotions, what can be done, now?  The executive summaries have already been handed out to the faculty mailboxes.  Nothing I can do except redo the document and send them out again on Monday.  The team has to accept the penalties of submitting it incomplete.

I suppose, from a broader perspective, my ego is hurt more than my grade.  But, damn… it stings.

There is so much to write and reflect regarding this International Business Plan.  This thesis paper has consumed my life these past several weeks.  Who said getting an MBA wasn’t tough?

So much to reflect on…

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